Owensboro Community and Technical College decided to replace their back-to-school orientation with something more focused on the varying comfort levels of students. According to OCTC President Scott Williams, the goal of this year’s Pathfinder Day was to stray away from orientation routines of the past.
“Instead of sitting in an auditorium all day, we wanted to create something all-encompassing,” said Williams. “An event focused on family. That way, parents can come, or you can bring your kids.” Williams explained that nerves get the best of students on their first day of classes, so Pathfinder Day was designed to ease those nerves beforehand.
The OCTC campus was crowded with new students by mid-afternoon on Friday. Pizza, hot dogs and drinks were served by OCTC faculty members who wore navy blue T-shirts with the phrase, “You Got This!” displayed across the back.
Overall, the “You Got This!” image set a positive, encouraging tone throughout the event. Williams, along with Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dr. Veena Sallan, spoke during a welcome session, one of many sessions held throughout the day. The two explained to an auditorium full of students that their college experience would not only be different than their high school experience, but it would also be better.
“You choose what you believe,” said Williams. “Ideas are very powerful. They can shape your whole worldview.” He went on to say that OCTC was a place where it was important to respect the ideas of others.
Sallan encouraged students to use Pathfinder Day to meet faculty members and become comfortable with the campus. Students were able to walk around to the different buildings and classrooms and tables were staffed with people providing information on support groups for students. A live band performed throughout the day.
The message of the event was that OCTC students have incredible potential, and faculty members reiterated that message of self-worth in different ways.
“We exist solely for you,” said Williams. “Our vision is to transform the quality of life in our community. We are never going to underestimate you. We are never going to sell you short. We want you to succeed, wherever you go from here.”
Classes for OCTC begin Monday, August 13.